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La Grande Arche : Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy : Notre-Dame, Versailles, the City of 4000. Secret of our heritage


Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy‘s exhibition: “Notre-Dame, Versailles, la Cité des 4000. Secret de notre patrimoine”, will be open to the public from January 7th. The opening will take place on January 19th, 2023 from 6 p.m. The exhibition runs until May 2023.

This exhibition brings together his work on Notre-Dame de Paris, before and after the fire and during its reconstruction, on the Cité des 4000 in La Courneuve, considered then, in 2002, as the most dangerous suburb of France, and finally on golden, but also private Versailles, – certain rooms of the palace which he photographed in 2006, have not changed since 1789, while others, still remain inaccessible to the public today. Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy’s Versailles had also been the subject of a special 38-page issue of French Geo magazine.

Through this work, Jean Gabriel Barthélemy places himself outside of time. Far from the systemic and “instagrammable” immediacy of the images of our time, opposing to them, an approach of the ultimate and unique photographic act, by the use of a camera, which allows only one take per film shot . From then on, to capture the views he chose, he became one with time. That of long exposure, which the pioneers of photography, before him, explored.

Exhibited in very large prints, up to 3/4 meters! , these images will benefit from the 1200 m2 offered by the Toit de la Grande Arche space. To the photographs will be added the cultural and historical dimension of Notre-Dame, Versailles and the city of 4000, from the pen of historian Corinne Leglois, but also the photographic epic that Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy experienced between the walls of these monuments – he saw himself physically threatened, in the abandoned halls of the city of the 4000, he surveyed for several months, from the cellar to the attic, an ignored Versailles, observed an exposure time, sometimes of more than 4 hours, to capture a single image, he has captured, since 2017, the Paris cathedral of which he knows every corner. Under the wounds and dramas of the centuries, it became, under the eye of the photographer, more universal than ever.

Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy’s images are on the border between document and art photography. He designs them in a search for “the aesthetics of objectivity”, without artifice, without ever touching anything on the scene he chooses to immortalize, and often without human presence. A reporter at heart, he does not forget the emotion and the man in his environment. His work has been the subject of institutional acquisitions, he has also been exhibited at the Museum and Cultural Center of Dusseldorf, the NRW-Forum, the BNF, Paris Photo, Visa pour l’image, Polka…

Elisabeth Lazaroo


Jean-Gabriel Barthélemy : Notre-Dame, Versailles, la Cité des 4000. Secret de notre patrimoine
January 7 – May 2023
The opening will take place on January 19, 2023 from 6 p.m.
Le Toît de la Grande Arche
1 parvis de la Défense
92044 Paris La Défense Cedex


The roof of the Grande Arche is open every day, 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ticket sales stop 30 minutes before closing.
The entrance ticket gives access to the rooftop of the Grande Arche and the exhibition.
Price between €8 and €16.

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